THE HOTLY CONTESTED RACE FOR KENTUCKY GOVERNOR pits Democratic incumbent Andy Beshear against Republican Daniel Cameron, the commonwealth’s attorney general.
Cameron’s running mate is western Kentucky state Sen. Robby Mills, while Beshear is paired with Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman of Frankfort.
Polls show the economy and crime top the list of concerns most important to voters. But what about energy security?
The electric grid is under more pressure than ever with policies also increasing costs to consumers. Kentucky’s electric cooperatives are working to make energy issues a focus of this important election.
Co-ops are also continuing their nonpartisan effort to encourage voter participation. Launched in 2016, the Co-ops Vote campaign emphasizes the ballot box as the most effective platform for citizens to get elected leaders to pay attention to the issues they prioritize.
“Kentucky needs elected leaders who will stand up for reliable and resilient energy by supporting responsible and reasonable policies,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “I urge all Kentuckians to consider the commonwealth’s energy security as a motivating factor to vote in this year’s election, and then to consider each candidate’s stand on energy matters when they cast their ballot.”
At www.vote.coop, eligible voters, no matter where they live or whether they are co-op members, can access information on registering to vote, where to vote and background information on all the candidates.
As the flagship publication of Kentucky’s electric cooperatives, Kentucky Living posed the same four questions to both Beshear and Cameron, allowing each a total of 400 words to answer all questions.
What is your vision for the energy future of Kentucky?
Beshear: We need an energy policy that makes sure we protect the resources and industries we have here in Kentucky, and provides affordable, reliable power to all Kentuckians. Under my administration, we’ve brought jobs to communities across the commonwealth and made Kentucky the electric battery capital of the United States. This includes projects like the $6 billion investment in the BlueOval SK Battery Park in Hardin County, which is set to create 5,000 jobs, and the $2 billion investment in AESC Gigafactory in Warren County, which will create 2,000 jobs. Projects like these make sure that Kentucky will not only continue to power our nation, but will also get the good paying jobs that come with that.
Cameron: I believe affordable and reliable energy should be the cornerstone of our energy future. Thankfully, because of coal, it’s already one of our strongest advantages. In a Cameron Administration, we will protect our energy grid, stand up for our coal miners and fight any threats from Joe Biden or radical activists.
Instead of wasting money on bureaucratic red tape, we should lower costs for co-ops and consumers. I’ll also appoint leaders to my administration who share my vision.
Gov. Andy Beshear is the Democratic Party nominee for the state’s top post. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia School of Law. Photo: Beshear campaign
How concerned are you about a rushed transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources, and what will you do as governor to challenge federal regulations and policies that threaten the reliability of the electric grid?
Cameron: I am deeply concerned about rushing a transition without maintaining affordability and reliability. We need leaders who will fight back against Joe Biden’s anti-coal, anti-reliability agenda. If these radical environmentalists get their way we will have blackouts and shutdowns. Andy Beshear is beholden to these activists, who want to kill the coal industry.
I have a record of fighting against regulations that harm our grid. After reading in this publication about Tony Campbell’s letter campaign to President Biden, we got to work. I took Biden to the Supreme Court, and won. Meanwhile, Beshear has been silent.
Beshear: I have always supported Kentucky’s coal miners and our coal industry, and I’m proud to be endorsed by both the UMWA as well as industry leaders. My administration is focused on ensuring that we have affordable, reliable electricity for all Kentucky homes and businesses. I will always work with our partners at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that we can meet our energy needs. When the federal government goes too far, I will stand up for Kentucky and push back, no matter who is in the White House.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican Party nominee for Kentucky governor, with his running mate, Sen. Robby Mills (R-Henderson). Photo: Cameron campaign
Kentucky historically has among the lowest electric rates in the nation. What will you do to help keep it that way?
Beshear: I’m committed to ensuring that energy costs remain low for families and businesses. That includes supporting an all-of-the-above energy strategy and working with utilities and regulators to keep rates as low as possible. We need to make sure we’re working collaboratively with our energy producers and utilities to provide an environment where costs stay low for families so we can keep building on the strong economic growth we’ve seen in Kentucky.
Cameron: Our low rates are one of Kentucky’s greatest advantages and I’ll work to protect them. When I’m governor, electric co-ops will have a seat at the table. And when I say that, I mean it. Unlike Andy Beshear, I will have a working relationship with our legislature. I’m also proud to have state Sen. Robby Mills beside me in this campaign as lieutenant governor. Robby has a long history of standing up for coal and protecting the reliability of the grid.
What is your plan to help Kentucky retain, grow and recruit businesses so that young people want to live and work in Kentucky’s rural communities?
Cameron: We can’t recruit and retain business without affordable and reliable energy, good schools and safe streets. I’ve proposed plans to address the historic learning loss inflicted on our students by Andy Beshear’s school shutdowns. My Catch-Up Plan includes the largest expansion of math and reading instruction so that our students get back to basics and are prepared to get a job here and stay here. I’ve also unveiled a public safety plan to reduce crime and support our law enforcement officers. That’s one of the reasons why the Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police, with over 10,000 members, has endorsed me over my opponent. Affordable energy, good schools and safe streets: that’s what you’ll get in a Cameron Administration.
Beshear: With the economic growth that we are seeing, Kentucky’s rural communities are going to change from places that our young people are moving from, to places that other states’ young people will be moving to. We have attracted over $26 billion in new private sector investment to Kentucky during my first term, which will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. We have a historic opportunity to build on our economic success by investing in our public education system so that businesses in Kentucky have the workforce they need to grow here. The historic economic development during my first term will set Kentucky up to be an economic powerhouse for decades to come.